Infinite growth

The right medium makes all the difference


Infigro Natural Technologies encompasses three strategic areas: “insulate, filter and grow”, which guide our value-add product development. Infigro Natural Technologies supplies a variety of products to the agricultural and horticultural markets and is able to customise products to each grower’s specific needs. The products offered include various grades of horticultural perlite, vermiculite and both peat moss and coco peat based hydroponic Gro-blends®. Growing medium is usually rated by users according to two parameters, namely, cost and specific crop requirements.

Technically speaking, most growing mediums can, in general, support seedling development. The difference is on what scale, in what climatic conditions and which type of plant. The intelligent way to approach it is to first understand the plant: its requirements, behaviour and its nature. The next step is to carefully analyse whether the investment in growing medium (minimal as it might be) really supports the specific plant and will ultimately produce a better seedling. In fact, a medium that is structured and designed for a specific crop will result in a better and higher yield.

To appreciate the above statement: an experienced grower who specialises in propagation of, for example, hazelnut tree cuttings will not use “just any medium” just because they can all work or because it is less expensive. The cutting in this case requires a specific Gro-blend that will support the hazelnut’s nature in the most optimal way; therefore, the grower knows that to get best results, he will need to use the best Gro-blend® (irrespective of cost) and this will be non-negotiable.

The development of each plant is directly affected by the ability of the young plant (seedling) to develop a healthy root zone, which is a result of correct moisture, oxygen, temperature and availability of nutrients. Since roots are entirely dependent on the “medium” surrounding them, their performance will be accordingly. If the medium supports the roots in an optimal way, the roots’ response will be optimal. If it is not optimal, they will adapt but will compromise on function, resulting in less developed upper parts and eventually low-quality seedlings.

The role of the Gro-blend® is to provide optimal root conditions. If the main portion of the growing medium is too porous and its WHC (Water Holding Capacity) is considerably low, it makes sense that blending it with a material with strong WHC will improve the root zone by creating a moister environment (for example: 60% Perlite blended with 40% Vermiculite). But if other characteristics are required, the supporting other materials should be added in the correct proportion to create an optimal Gro-blend®.

Enormous efforts and resources are invested in producing optimal growing Gro-blends® for specific seedlings and cuttings for no other reason than to provide optimal material that can produce the best results for the growers. Gro-blends are “tricky” in a way; going through trial-and-error while trying to get it right is sometimes costly and time consuming. It is a better proposition to invest in a quality Gro-blend®and thereby improve production and yield.

Infigro Natural Technologies was established in South Africa in 1961 and has evolved from a single product manufacturer into a supplier and partner to industry of specialised products. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of AECI Ltd, we are a medium-sized, dynamic and versatile company, with the backing of a large multinational corporation. Infigro Natural Technologies is OHSAS 18001 certified and is committed to the safety and health of our employees, our customers, the community and the environment through the Responsible Care Initiative.

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Issue 46


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